1. Hi there. I hope everyone had a nice weekend. So now that we have the pleasantries covered, I want to share with you one of the best and most honest pieces of writing about obsessive-compulsive disorder I've read.
A few years ago, when I was living in New York City, I began to notice and admire the facades of a certain type of downtown building. I’m talking about the old brick-and-mortar walk-up apartments in neighborhoods like the East Village and Lower East Side, the kinds with fire escape ladders zigzagging down the front. It seemed like every building had a different combination of brick color and ladder color: tan brick with black ladders, red brick with green ladders, etc. And the more I actually looked at these beautiful buildings, the more it occurred to me that they looked vaguely...tasty. I started assigning them “flavors” in my mind. And then I started taking pictures of them. And then one day I decided to start putting them on Instagram with their flavors as captions.
Visceral discomfort takes hold, but I can still think logically and know I shouldn’t give in. The distress is too intense, though, the desire too strong. I can’t seem to help myself. And the anguish! My muscles are tense; my brain is hot. I want to scream. Why not just kill that pain right now, quick and easy? Why endure it until it fades when I can squash it?
So it was a bit scary to publicize that first blog post, but it's important to emphasize that:
1) I'm fine.
And, more importantly:
2) Tons and tons of people live happy, productive lives even while struggling with mental health issues.
Depression, bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, ADD, ADHD, etc. etc. are chronic illnesses. So are arthritis, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, Crohn's disease, sleep apnea, etc. etc. The latter six afflictions are for the most part discussed without shame or stigma. The former? Not so much.
I Have OCD
NOTE: I'd encourage you to comment if you feel so moved! I want to people to feel comfortable talking about mental health and am hoping this site can do at least a tiny bit to make that happen a little more.
I finally caved on a weeknight during my seventh-grade year, as I sat at the kitchen table trying but failing yet again to do my homework. Maybe “caved” isn’t the right way to put it; maybe that moment—when I put down my pencil, wiped the tears of frustration from my ruddy cheeks, and walked into the living room to tell my parents that something was wrong—is when I started. It’s the moment I keep coming back to as the first time I sought help for what I now know is very real obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The symptoms began to surface well before seventh grade.